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Neil Young's 'Heart of Gold'

 

I'd very much like to hear people's interpretations of Neil Young's song 'Heart of Gold"

I want to live,
I want to give
I've been a miner for a heart of gold.
It's these expressions I never give
That keep me searching for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

I've been to Hollywood
I've been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold
I've been in my mind, it's such a fine line
That keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.


Particularly, the line "It's these expressions I never give" is not quite clear to me and also " a fine line" as used in the song.

Thanks a lot in advance!

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    This song is about Neil's search for his capacity to feel compassion and his grappling with the looming despair of never finding it.
    I interpret the first verse to be an introspective search for compassion within himself (for the kingdom within perhaps).
    He begins with an aspiration - He wants to live and give. He admits, however that he has not realised his aspiration yet, but intends to continue the search (although he's "getting old").
    The second verse alludes to the inevitable search-outside-himself that takes him far away from home (and perhaps his mission is driving him crazy? - I've been in my mind, its such a fine line).
    The final verse refers to a second party (you keep me searching for a heart of gold) who, for whatever reason, tries his patience but ultimately this vexation only further drives him to continue the search.

    In the end Neil is still in the hunt to realise his opening aspirations (i.e. he has not despaired) but he suspects that time (and I'm getting old - also a metaphor for the corrosion of cynicism, perhaps) may defeat him.

     

    I have a heart of gold. :P

    My opinion is that you can found love anywhere to every one but its hard to find true love.

    cowboy...

     

    Olga,


    This song is forty years old!
    It is still as hauntingly beautiful as it was back in 1971 when I first heard it.
    Here is my interpretation. It has the feel of those times. Young people then were concerned about the over-exploitation of nature. I think the "heart of gold" symbolizes harmony between man and nature.


    I want to live,.........expressing that he wants to experience life to its fullest.
    I want to give.........expressing that he wants to give of himself to others.
    I've been a miner for a heart of gold.......If he can find the right mix of the two he will have a "heart of gold".
    It's these expressions I never give... .........but he doesn's feel that he really gives or lives....
    That keep me searching for a heart of gold..............so he keeps searching
    And I'm getting old..........time is passing
    Keeps me searching
    for a heart of gold.....and he hasn't yet this heart of gold that he seeks
    And I'm getting old.

    I've been to Hollywood......city famous for creating wonderful movies and for the egotism and greed of the actors and movie corporations.
    I've been to Redwood.....national park created to save the ancient Redwood forest, the tallest trees in the world.*
    I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold....he has looked all over the world for it.

    I've been in my mind, it's such a fine line.........He has looked inward and realizes that there is a fine difference between 'taking from life' and 'giving something back', between exploitation and preservation.

    That keeps me searching for a heart of gold........still looking for the right balance between greed and philanthropy.

    And I'm getting old.
    Keeps me searching
    for a heart of gold
    And I'm getting old.

    * The Redwood forest was the location of a gold rush in the 1850s. The miners who moved there stayed on to create the logging industry that was in turn responsible for the destruction of the forest and the native American population there.

     

    Olga,

    Of course it allows multiple interpretations. Songs are often written by inspiration, thus the songwriter may not always understand the full meaining of what he has written.

    I agree that it is a personal quest, but a quest can have a much wider cultural significance it it coincides with public sentiments. The popularity of this song even today attests to the fact that many people identify with it.

    It's these expressions I never give

    It's hard to know exactly what he meant here. I think he twisted the sentence in order to make the last word 'give' rhyme with 'live'.

    Probably he meant: I never give expression to these desires 1) I want to live, 2) I want to give.

    give expression to...express; in this song meaning to show feelings by action

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